Kate Cucco, who is challenging freshman incumbent Assemblywoman Pam Harris for the 46th Assembly District seat, today released a 70-Point Policy Booklet focusing on a series of reforms aimed at restoring the public’s faith in Albany as well as an array of proposals aimed at protecting and growing New York’s working and middle class.
“For many working and middle class New Yorkers, raising a family here is becoming harder and harder to do,” said Cucco. “This policy booklet has some bold ideas that lets working and middle class families know exactly the type of policies I plan on advocating for should I get elected to the Assembly. These policies would grow the middle class, make our state more affordable, create thousands of good paying jobs, and give every New Yorker the opportunity to succeed regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.”
Among the more interesting policies she would like to work on instituting that are pertinent to the district, which includes the public transportation starved neighborhoods of Western Coney Island, Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights are:
#36. Create a mass transit express system that gets all residents of New York City to lower Manhattan and midtown Manhattan in 30 minutes or less.
#40. Fast ferry service from Coney Island to Mid Town in 30 minutes. Coney Island is one of NYC’s most famous destinations for leisure and recreation, but there is still no fast and simple way to get there from Manhattan. Setting up a ferry service that could make the trip in only half an hour would be far easier and more reliable than the subway and bus routes that exist now, making it easier for our residents to commute to work as well as driving up attendance and boosting Coney Island’s economy from an increase in tourism.
Cucco’s booklet also puts forth several policy ideas that confront the culture of corruption in Albany, in which both the former Assembly Speaker (Shelly Silver) and former Senate Majority Leader (Dean Skelos) were both convicted on felony public corruption charges last year. They include:
#9. Pension forfeiture for public officials who commit a felony. It is unacceptable that someone convicted of betraying the trust of the public can still live off public money. A public official who, through corruption or negligence, has brought direct harm to the people of New York has surrendered their right to a pension supported by taxpayers. With this law on the books, we will further discourage officials from engaging in this disgraceful behavior.
#10. Make the legislature full time — raise legislator’s salaries; ban outside income; increase conflict of interest disclosure requirements. Research has shown that legislators who work part-time for low pay are less committed to their position. And without much income, they are far more reliant on outside business interests for their own livelihood, which leads to inherent conflicts and opens the door to corruption. By pairing an increase in pay and time commitment for our legislators with a ban on outside income, we can encourage them to move away from special interests and towards serving the interests of their constituents.
Some other policy ideas she put forth include:
#15. Make SUNY and CUNY education tuition free for state residents who have a B average and meet a certain threshold on the SAT or ACT. Our economy thrives when everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, and access to a quality education is a vital part of that. Opening our public colleges and universities to every resident of academic achievement will create countless opportunities for intelligent, hard-working students who wouldn’t have any options otherwise, and they will give back to our state over and over again as they go on to further successes. New York should work to keep our best and brightest in our state.
#54. Establishing a caregiver tax credit for those taking care of an ailing family member. Caring for a sick or injured family member is a full-time job, and it can be a heavy physical and emotional burden on the caregiver. We should do what we can to try and ease that burden by giving them a tax credit. They deserve this little bit of relief for the invaluable service they are providing to a loved one, at such great cost to themselves.
#58. Incentivize the creation of affordable housing by creating a new Mitchell-Lama program aimed at building new affordable housing for working and middle class residents. Use AMI formulas so every region in the state creates affordable housing for its residents. Struggling families desperately need new affordable housing programs so they can support themselves and stop spending over half their income on rent. Mitchell-Lama has been a highly successful affordable housing program over the decades, and it’s well worth emulating. Meanwhile, carefully considered micro-targeted AMI formulas will help prevent the absurdity of affordable housing that community residents cannot actually afford.
The primary is Sept 13.